Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Calm After The Storm

I saw three rainbows yesterday - three! That was after I awoke to a downpour and drove to work through a downpour and watched the downpour slow to a drizzle.

This is a picture of one that I managed to capture with my phone. The "lights" on the mountain are actually a reflection in the window I was shooting through.

I'm really thankful for the seasonal brooks that surround us. They handled the run off from the rain and are still handling it now as it's pouring again as I write this.

Last night DH put an empty waist high trash can under the roof to see how much run off we'd get. (we have no gutters or downspouts because of all the snow we get in the winter.) The trash can was filled with water within 6" of the top this morning.

I can't complain though.....what's a little soggy ground when other people have lost their homes.

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy

My blessings to anyone dealing with the aftermath of this storm. My thanks to the clean up crews and all the electric guys that go up in the buckets to restore power.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Red Sky In Morning...

Sunrise this morning from our front porch
Sailors take warning.  Sandy isn't supposed to be anything but an inconvenience here but that didn't stop Mother Nature from putting on a show this morning.

I wish everyone in her path safety throughout the storm.













Tired pups snoozing after a long walk.
Hutch, Reilly and I went out for a long walk early today. They're beat after several days of extra long walks. Hopefully they won't mind it too much if we can't walk for a day or two due to wind and rain.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Clean, Neat Ice for Cooler

Given the fact that this area tends to lose power with high wind we are not strangers to pulling out a cooler to keep food cold.

I really dislike the food floating in a tub of water phenomenon that is inevitable with block or bag ice. This summer I decided to try making my own leak proof block of ice. I purchased a 3L bottle of Poland Spring water and tossed it in the freezer. Imagine my surprise when it stayed partially frozen for the weekend during a camping trip.

We used the same trick when we traveled back and forth to Bar Harbor this fall with equally good results. The bottle is now fully frozen in the freezer, ready to pull out should we need it.

It's held up well through about 5 refreezings now. I don't think we'd drink the water - other than in dire emergency - but I certainly will use it to water plants or flush a toilet during an outtage should the bottle spring a leak. Then of course we can recycle the plastic.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PS1 Weeks 9-11 WO 3 Boy OH Boy!

Once again this was a targeted workout rather than a total body workout. It targeted upper body and abs/core. Again there was a pattern, again it was repeated endlessly, again it was - I'm sorry to say - boring.

It wasn't boring at first. During the first planking section it was great but the weighted section (light weights) was about 25 minutes and it repeated the same 4 count pattern over and over for endless counts of 8 in various angles. I was fine at first but round about 20 minutes I was ready to be done. Not due to terrible muscle burning but because I was freaking sick of the pattern and endless reps.

The side planking series also seemed endless and the abs as well. I just think that once I'm sick of repetition I'm sick of it. Unfortunately the result is that I don't feel uplifted and relaxed when I finish and this is most likely going to be the deal breaker for this rotation.

This workout ran 1 hour and 12 minutes in length.

I had another thought while being bored to death. If my memory is correct these sections were originally a subscription where you received a download weekly or maybe two weekly. Then Leah strung them together into this periodization schedule. Two of these sections together wouldn't be bad - you could get through them. It's when they're strung together that they start to feel like overkill.

Leah is in different outfits and her hair changes from section to section. This means that sections were filmed on their own. I wonder if she ever did this entire periodization schedule as written, running through each workout without stopping?? If she did I wonder if she was sick of repeating things to death? HMMM something to ponder.

On a lighter and more positive note these workouts do build strength and bring about aesthetic change over time. Honestly? I'm not sure the torture of repetition is worth it. I'm already dreading next week when I start over with workout 1. We'll see if I manage to repeat this series of workouts more than once.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

"Work to become, not to acquire." - Elbert Hubbard

When this quote dropped into my box I immediately thought about how it aligns beautifully with the idea of knowing what I you want your life to look like. Being able to picture what you want is the ultimate goal. Working to become is putting it into action.

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crimped Fascia HURTS!

http://grandmas-dyeing-pursuits.blogspot.com/2010/04/e-b-white-poem-spider-web.html
What is fascia? That link will take you to a brief but enlightening description.

Let your fascia flow is a longer article but very much worth reading.

Why the spider web? Because fascia is like a web and besides, it's almost Halloween.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ballet Body PS1 Weeks 9-11 WO 2 YOWZA!!

Alright now! That was mighty interesting. This workout was the first of this series that I wouldn't call full body. This workout hit the lower body and hit it hard!

It was again quite repetitive but for some reason it didn't bother me as much as the first in this month's series. When I say it didn't bother me I mean that I didn't become horribly irritable. I almost hate to admit it but I think I might even see where Leah was coming from with that horrible endless pretzel torture sequence in the last workout.

The first two months of this periodization schedule were Base conditioning. This month and next are considered general strength. I'm not thinking about the last two months yet.

One thing that I find quite interesting is that I will feel my low back working quite intensely, almost to the point where I'm afraid that I'm going to hurt myself but then with the next movement series my back totally releases and feels relaxed. After thinking about this I realize that it feels similar to what I experience with a good, deep Yin stretch in this area.

As always I felt stronger and more accomplished than in the past and yet the movements felt more demanding.

Oh and the workout ran one hour and 18 minutes in length. I can't say that it flew by but it moved right along and that's not bad considering I did it after an 11.5 hour work day that was quite demanding.

I'll come back and add to this when I see how much DOMS I have tomorrow and the next day.

Oh and don't tell Leah but I did some T-Tapp today. Not a ton but enough to lighten my mood.

Popping back in before this even hits the blog. Mimimal DOMS - more muscle awareness. Yet I can tell that my muscles have been worked quite deeply.

Editing this to make mention of the fact that this workout is extremely foot intensive! You spend much of your time in releve on both and sometimes on one foot. When you finally go to the floor you are again in releve on one or both feet with feet against the wall while you do elevated bridge work. I have very strong feet, by nature and through my exercise choices. Someone without strong feet could injure their feet or ankles if their form deteriorates as their feet become tired. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

No, I'm not talking about the Beatles. :) 

http://eliteboardshop.com/index_2008_10.shtml
This is yet another saying that my grandmother used to use; "You can't keep robbing Peter to pay Paul." This saying actually has merit in more than one area of life.

I want to talk about it in reference to overbooking life. True confession time: The habit of allowing my life to become overbooked is one that I am still working on. That means that I am unhappily an expert at how it happens, how to juggle it and the unhappy side effects it brings about. I am not an expert on how to totally reform yourself from the phenomenon. So if total reform is what you're looking for, it's best to look elsewhere.

Truth be told, I'm not sure I would accept a total reform even if it were in my grasp. I enjoy being busy - just not too busy. The breaking point is when I find myself not able to do life activities that I really want to do because I'm too busy. I just recently had to cancel out on an event that I wanted to attend because I was already too booked. That's a signal for me to step back and rebalance.

I'm getting better at preventing myself from getting to that point. I'm also getting better at making certain that the busy-ness in my life is - for the most part - busy with things I want to be busy with. Most importantly I do back down when I sense things getting past the point of sane.

So these days instead of ROBBING Peter to pay Paul I sometimes take a short term loan from him.

My challenge to you is to examine your life. How busy are you? How much of the busy is filled with things you truly want to be busy with? Can you imagine decreasing some of the busy time that is filled with things you'd rather not be busy with? What would your life look like if you did that?

If you made two lists, optional and non-optional, how balanced would they be? Are all of the non-optional items really non-optional?

Having this type of a conversation with yourself is a little like spring housecleaning. I highly recommend it.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Signs That You're Overtraining: With Exercise, With Life

I thought about linking to an article on overtraining but figured that it would be just as easy for anyone who reads this to Google "signs of overtraining" or some such thing. You'll find articles on the phenomenon of overtraining around a variety of activities and sports. If you take the time to read more than one article you'll notice some similarities.

I'll highlight the top few signs and share how I experience them. My point is not to make this all about me but rather to highlight that overtraining is very individual and you're better served to identify and respect your own individual signals than to simply believe that the symptoms will show up in a classic textbook way.

1. Increased fatigue: In the beginning this is usually slight, you may even think you're simply having an "off day." Later it can become bone deep fatigue what never seems to clear even after a 12 hour sleeping marathon. Identifiable fatique is a midpoint sign for me. When it shows up I am already significantly overtrained. Bone deep fatigue is a true late and danger sign for me. When it rears its ugly head I know I need to act NOW if I want to regain my physical equilibrium.

2. Increased energy: Sounds odd, doesn't it? One of my early signs is a flighty kind of excess energy despite poor sleep. When I find myself thinking that I should be tired but I'm not it's a sign a need to step back and re-evaluate my life balance.

3. Sleep Changes: Needing more or sleeping poorly despite being tired - especially if you normally do not have sleep issues. This one is a biggie for me. I normally fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply and without waking so when I start experiencing broken sleep, where I struggle to fall back to sleep after waking I know I need to look at what's going on in my life and shift my balance.

4. Sore Muscles: We all experience sore muscles when we intensify our exercise or simply partake in a new form of physical activity. Muscle soreness (not joint soreness) that lasts 24-48 hours post exercise or activity isn't necessarily a bad thing. Exaggerated soreness that doesn't want to go away however can signal overtraining. This is one of my signs but not one I can depend upon - in other words sometimes I experience it and sometimes I don't. For me it manifests as sudden onset and intense beyond what I normally experience muscle soreness soon after a workout. It doesn't have to be a tough workout either. That's where the exaggeration comes in.

5. Hunger that isn't relieved after eating: This is a middle to late symptom for me. I don't feel hungry. I just feel like I want to eat but what I want to eat is ellusive. This sign signals me that I'm low on energy.

6. Irritability or other emotional changes: This can also show up as unusually strong emotions. This is a sign for me but it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm physically overtrained. It can also signal a need for more sleep, or emotional overload and a need to give myself some "space."

7. Getting sick often: If you look back over your training log and notice that you've had to interrupt your plans to recover from a string of colds or several big infections it's a reason to stop and re-evaluate your plan. I don't get sick often so for me this will normally be more the feeling that I might be coming down with something that keeps coming and going. If I actually get sick it's a clear and late sign I've been overextending.

8. Weight gain when eating and exercising for maintenance or weight loss: I've experienced this first hand in the past. One time it was more due to the activities and stressors of my life than it was my exercise schedule. Another time it was most definitely related to my training program. In both cases the weight gain wasn't huge but it was unexpected given my prudent eating plan.

So there are a few signs. You can find additional signs listed online by doing a google search.

My challenge to you is to think back and make an effort to identify your personal signs of overtraining. They can be signs you've experienced when exercising regularly or when overbooked with life. Can you figure out which signs are early signs and which are late signs?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ballet Body PS1 Wks 9-11 WO 1 AARRRGGGH

Warning: This is a long review. If you can stand to do so please read to the end because my feelings for this workout changed slightly each time I repeated it. To be fair to Leah I wanted to make this clear right off the top of the review.

This workout was an hour and 33 minutes long. Once again Leah chose a movement pattern and beat it to death or maybe it was me she was trying to kill. This one was threes. She hit just about every angle humanly possible and repeated it for endless sets of 8. We're talking some serious dread factor here and not just because of muscle burn. If I had to describe my feelings about this workout in as few words as possible I'd say: Brain numbingly repetitive

Leah also needs to learn to count. Seriously, if you are going to ask people to do endless reps of slight variations of the same movement you need to count the reps correctly - otherwise they tend to become irritable. Do I seem irritable?

My final thought on this workout is that it, once again, is a huge leap from last month's intensity and reps. Pretzel movements, similar to those in Calanetics, are introduced for the first time. I was fine with them because I've done these movements before but someone who hadn't might not do so well to continue this new movement for the number of reps and variations required by this workout.

And now a thought on another workout. I miss T-Tapp! I miss never having to do more than 8-10 reps and still getting great results in both strength and aesthetics. I miss not working out for more than a hour and less if I want and still maintaining my strength! I don't like feeling irritable when I finish a workout. I want to feel accomplished, calm and relaxed.

Part of me wants to tough it out and keep on keeping on with this system but honestly I can't imagine results good enough that I'd want to invest this much time to working out all the time.

I guess the good news is that the schedule only calls for this workout to be done three times. The bad news is that if I stick to the schedule I would need to do it two more times. I'm enough of a dork to wonder if I'd be so irritable the next time I did it. I guess we'll see.

Coming back in to add to this review to add to it. After experiencing such strong emotions around this workout I wondered if  I had been overtraining. Well, I woke up the next day with some slight muscle awareness but no overriding soreness. I also slept like a log that night. So I don't think that overtraining was to blame. I truthfully enjoyed the first hour of the workout. What got me going was the endless pretzel series.

I'll go on record as saying that it is mind numbing boredom to use slight variations of the same movement  to work one area for 20 minutes and 41 seconds. I was able to do all the reps. I'm only slightly sore in the area targeted by the reps. But, the need to engage in this type of mental torture still escapes me!

Back after having a third go at it. This workout had a very different feel about it. First of all I didn't walk/run three miles with the dogs prior to doing it. I think that made a difference. Amazement was one of my first reactions. This was only the third time I had done this workout. Up to the point of beginning this workout I had done a sum total of 6 Ballet Body workouts over the last two weeks.

I was very most definitely stronger while performing this workout. DO NOT confuse that statement with meaning that I wasn't challenged while doing this workout. I definitely was! The reps still went on and on but having not walked first I was mentally in a better place to deal with it. I might have also  been more relaxed because I knew what was coming and was mentally prepared for it.

I was drenched after I finished the workout. I also felt as if I had accomplished something. The workout felt tougher than the last time on a deeper more form driven level. These are all things I love about T-Tapp workouts. I find it quite interesting that this workout seems to deliver those things. Quite honestly, I think I still prefer T-Tapp for the fact that it's so time efficient but Body Ballet definitely delivers a compatible workout for those who want to branch out.
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thought for the Weekend: Fear of Failure

We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do.
- Samuel Smiles

This quote indirectly brings me back to the question I ask myself regularly; What do you want your life to look like?

You may or may not have read a previous blog post where I said that when stumped on this question I often find it helpful to think in the reverse and ask myself, "What don't you want your life to look like?"

Those two questions provide a lot of support and guidance as I make the life decisions we all make.

I also think that there is much benefit from asking myself if it is perhaps fear that holds me back when faced with areas of life where I just don't seem to be able to make progress.  

This is often easier said than done of course. We can be quite good at tricking ourselves into believing that it not fear but a bunch of other life circumstances that hold us back.

Luckily for me I have another question that often helps me blow through my own self deception. "What is the very worse thing that could happen if you were successful with ___________. Woven into the answer to that question is often the fear that holds you back.

So my challenge while decidedly not simple could be quite enlightening.

-Think of an area of your life where you feel blocked.
-What is the very worse thing that could happen if you were to become  unblocked and achieve your goal in this area?
- What would your life look like if you achieved this goal?
- Would achieving it move your life in the direction in which you want it to move?

That's a lot to think about but it's ok. After all, we have all weekend to ponder it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Are You Planning to Fail?

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. - Benjamin Franklin

This quote rules when it comes to being consistent with your fitness plans - and your diet for that matter.

This time of year can be a major challenge for sticking with your workouts, especially if you're new to exercise. There are several approaches you can take to help avoid a fall off the wagon.

1. Have a back up plan. For example, if you're a walker plan to use the treadmill at the health club in inclimate weather. Alternately and for less cash outlay you could take your walk to a mall or even a large store. If you choose the large store idea be sure to choose a time of day when the store won't be jam packed. Yet another solution would be to use an exercise DVD, There are a variety of walking DVDs available.  There are also DVds available for weight training, pilates, yoga, bodyweight training, etc. Using home DVDs can be a very flexible alternative.

2. If the colder, darker days of this season make you less motivated to workout plan a total change up. This can mean moving your workouts from the outdoors to a gym or perhaps choosing to take an exercise class twice a week while working out in your home on the other days. Home equipment, a winter gym membership and home DVDs can really be helpful.

3. Find yourself a fitness buddy. You're more likely to stick with your program no matter how long, cold and dark the winter if you commit to one or more friends.

What if you've already fallen off the wagon? Do some internet searches and watch some dvd clips. Collage Video and Total Fitness DVDs are great sites and both feature short clips of the dvds they sell. One thing you will want to avoid is getting into a mode where you purchase, purchase, purchase without actually using what you buy. You're probably amazed that this is even an issue but it's more common than you might believe.

My final suggestion would be to revisit the reasons that spurred you to begin exercising in the first place. Then set some new goals and write them down. Then remind yourself that you are never further from those goals than your next workout!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seasonal Cycles: Another Perspective

http://favim.com/image/55430/
Yesterday I wrote about some interventions that I used to help us better weather our cold, dark fall into winter season.

Today I'd like to share another thing that has really helped me to enjoy rather than struggle with this time of year.

Quite simply stated, I changed my perception of this time of year. Instead of looking at it as a dark miserably cold and damp part of the year I now think of it in terms of contrast and the cycles of seasons and of life.

This will probably sound hokey and if you really hate the dark time of the year you might want to hit me but this is now how I truthfully see it. If we never experience the dark and cold of late fall and early winter then how much less of a contrast will there be when late winter arrives with intense quiet cold, clear weather, snow blanketing the ground and robin's egg blue skies? (My favorite time of the year for those very reasons...) How much less of a contrast will we note when Noisy Spring arrives bringing the sound of rushing rivers and seasonal brooks handling the spring run off, the song of birds returning to the area and the re-emergence of the forest undergrowth and leaves? Let's not also forget the light, bright, warmer days of summer, short as it is here.

I guess rather than seeing myself as suffering through late fall/early winter I choose to embrace this time as part of my ongoing celebration of the cycles of life and the seasons and in doing so I've discovered there are actually quite a few things I like about this time of year.

Interestingly enough I've also found that I can often use this same compare and contrast technique with other things in my life that initially please me less than I would like. It's often easier to simply roll with the punches life deals than to rail against them. Maybe some would view this as wimping out in my old age but I prefer to see it as the blossoming wisdom of coming of age. I also see it as embracing my own growing spirituality.

My tongue in cheek challenge to you is to see how many different shades of grey you can identify in the sky over the next month.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Dark Time of the Year and S.A.D.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadness
S.A.D. - Seasonal Affective Disorder  It's more common in Northern parts of the country that have decreased light during the long cold winters. Wait? Did I just describe this area?

Yes, I guess I did. When asked about the biggest challenge after moving to this area, hands down I always answer, "the lack of light in the fall and early winter.

I will never forget our first fall here. It seemed to be an endless cycle of one dark cloudy day after the next.

The moment that galvanized the fact that my brain was fighting hard to deal with the lack of sunshine was a single thought. It was my day off and I stepped outside to run some errands. I looked at the sky and mentally remarked to myself that it was a very pretty shade of grey. Then I immediately realized that we had had so many cloudy days in a row that I had begun to classify the shades of grey that I was experiencing!

That experience prompted me to think about our mornings as a family and how they had become less than pleasant. We were all suffering from lack of light! Being one to take action I decided to do what I could to combat this. I went out and purchased full spectrum light bulbs in the highest wattage I could get away with and placed them in strategic locations: Over our dining table, in the light fixtures in our livingroom where we spent the majority of our evenings, in our overhead kitchen fixture and the bathroom fixtures.

Since I was always the first to rise each morning, I got into the habit of adding some calming essential oils to the container we keep on top of our wood stove to add humidity to the air.

The results were no less than amazing over the next two weeks, so amazing that I continue this practice every fall and winter. (These days I diffuse a few drops of Swiss Just Anti Stress Activator oil)

I don't believe that any of my family would be diagnosed as having true S.A.D. and that is probably why my interventions were successful. If you try my interventions and continue to feel blue you should definitely speak with your health care provider.

You can find some good info on S.A.D. here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ballet Body PS1: Recovery Week 8 WO 1

This is recovery!?! Yes, that was my first thought when I noticed that I'd be working out for almost 1 hour and 20 minutes in order to finish the first recovery workout for week 8.

I did indeed finish the workout. I did enjoy parts of it. I could feel that I've definitely gotten stronger. The workout was challenging despire being stronger because I couldn't help but go deeper into the form and that intensified things.

I'll officially go on record as being a total hater of Leah's bridge work. It's long, it's incredibly repetitive - incredibly. Imagine doing the same repetitive 3 move sequence in 3 different variations one one leg and then the other. Then repeat the whole thing on both legs. Then do a slightly shorted version on each leg just to make sure that you hit it all from every angle! I'm enough of a dork to wonder if there is some kind of method to her madness and therefore did it all. This could be the deal breaker for me in the future though. Unless of course it turns my back body into a thing of beauty. HA!

The only thing that kept me going was her wonderful Stretching on the Water Sequence, which I had chosen to use for a stretch. I really enjoy this segment.

Having gotten through the longest workout of the week and knowning that I don't necessarily have to suffer through the bridge work again I know I'll get through this week.

Part of me wonders if the bridge work would be so incredibly awful if I tried it as part of a shorter workout. I don't really want to discover the answer to that question but if all sense leaves me I might give it a go this week. [smacks forehead] I am such a  dork!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Learning to Ground Yourself: Free Body Sense Magazine for Autumn 2012

Click on this link to view the Body Sense Magazine for Autumn 2012.

There are several good articles including one on how to ground yourself. Per the article "Grounding involves living inside your body and having a connection with the Earth."

I can state from personal experience that I feel better when I'm grounded. I'm more productive, calm and clear.

There is also an article on some of the little known things that massage can do for you.

Yet other articles cover Safety Tips for Autumn yard cleanup and why you shouldn't overload your childrens' backpacks.

The magazine is free and will open with a click of the link. Once it opens you can zoom in with a click and drag the page in any direction. Page turning is accomplished with an arrow center out right and left of the pages.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

"The past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future." - Marilyn Ferguson

Most people think of the past in terms of long ago or even a week or day ago but by definition the past is as recent as a second ago.

When your goal is to lose weight or get fit you're going to slip from time to time. You might eat a larger portion than planned or eat dessert when you didn't plan for it. You might miss a workout, sometimes for a perfectly good reason. When this happens it's quite common to figure that you've blown it and since you've blown it you might as well REALLY blow it and finish out the day, or week, or month..... This is how some really great make over plans end all too quickly. You are allowing that slip to become your potential.

If this happens to you I challenge you to think in terms of the slip up as "the past" and refuse to allow it to determine your potential. Put the past, where it belongs - in the past - and move on with your plan. Or if your plan needs to be changed then by all means change it to something more suitable. But whatever you do don't allow a slip that is in the past a second after it occurs to pull you off course! Something to think about.



 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bodywork Etiquette

This Link will take you to an article on MassageTherapy.com covering Bodywork Etiquette.

If I could set only one rule for massage clients it would be, "If you aren't sure ask your therapist."

Also, the very best reason for a pre-massage shower is to allow the massage oils to more easily penetrate your skin. This way you get a skin softening treatment in addition to your massage.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ballet Body: PS1: Weeks 5-7 Workout 3

First of all I want to say that I truly consider these workouts to be advanced for a couple of reasons. First there is the sheer length and difficulty of the movements. Second there is the complexity of the movements and the advanced form you need to truly perform the movements correctly. Take all that together and you have a recipe for muscle substitution and possibly injury in someone who is not an advanced exerciser. I'm not saying that a less than advanced exerciser can't use Leah's workouts. I would suggest that Beginners start out with her Basics 1 series and use them until you are quite comfortable. Then move to the Basics II series for a few weeks. Better yet, you could email her and get her recommendations.

That said, I didn't find the third workout in this month's series of three as daunting as the first two. It was a little shorter but the movements were still quite demanding. It seems trite to say I might be getting stronger but it is a possibility.

These workouts continue to be a big jump, both in time outlay and intensity from the first month series. That has me curious to find out exactly  how intense Leah's workouts will get as the series continues. For now I'm continuing on with the plan but I reserve the right to stop at any time. :)

Editing after the second time doing this workout. I liked it more the second time through.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"I feel so good! Like I'm in a new body!"

This was a statement by a brand new client as she emerged back into the waiting room after a massage.

My immediate thought in response to her statement was, "This is what massage therapy is supposed to be all about."

I have also heard massage therapists promise to turn a client into a "puddle of drool." That certainly can be the goal of a massage if that's all the client wants out of the experience.

The problem with puddles of drool is that they dry up - quickly - or we wipe them away in order to get back to life as we normally live it. In other words, puddles of drool are short lived.

That new body feeling lasts longer and often intensifies for the first 24 hours post massage. It can last even longer if the client performs some simple restructuring exercises and stretches between massages.

The new body feeling isn't quite as disorienting as the puddle of drool feeling either and that certainly needs to be a consideration for the client. It's usually possible to choose a combination of strokes, muscle and finishing techniques that will give the client who wants the best of both worlds a nice balance between the two.

Something to think about before you schedule your next massage.

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ballet Body: PS1 Weeks 5-7 Workout 2

This workout included the Basics series II plus some glute work. The word "Basics" threw me for a loop. It was more demanding than I would expect a workout with the word "Basics" in the title to be. It was less demanding than the first workout for this month.

By the end of the workout I was sure I'd be experiencing muscle soreness by the next day. In reality I had that same gentle muscle awareness I had experienced after the first month's workouts rather than the genuine DOMS I felt with the first workout in this month's series.

In all honesty there are a few segments from this set of workouts that I'm not particularly looking forward to. They just seemed to go on and on with endless reps of very similar exercises. In my heart I knew - even while doing them - that Leah was having you hit your trouble areas from many slightly different angles. That didn't stop me from saying some not too nice things to the TV when I thought we should be done and she thought up yet three more angles to hit on the right leg before we were able to even begin the left leg. I get it. I know that the reasons for multi-angle high rep bodyweight work. That doesn't help decrease sense of "enough already" as it goes on forever, and forever and forever.

I'll update this post if I do this workout again and if I feel differently about at that time. I find that how I feel about a workout one time I do it isn't necessarily the way I feel about it if I do it again.

Very happy to report that I skimmed into a pair of straight cut pants that had fit a few weeks ago but were a little snugger in the thighs than I like. No snugness today at all. Alternating intensity in my workouts is really working well.

Updating after doing this workout a second time. This time I discovered that it was not the entire workout or even a few segments that made me crazy. The workout pretty much flew by this time with the exception of the last segment. That one made me crazy. Isn't funny how a single segment can color your perception of an entire workout?

I think it bothered me because it came at the end and normally abs have come at the end and I prefer that. It was also extremely repetitive and didn't fit well in the small space in which I was performing it and that made it a less than happy experience. Finally, it was a segment that worked an area of my body that tends to be strong so it seemed a little like time wasted. Probably not really wasted but when you add it all up it makes sense that I didn't like doing it. Hopefully there won't be too many more like that one and even if there are you only have to get through them 3 times before you move on.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Low Cost Spa Treatments for Vacation or any time

We just returned from a wonderful vacation. The vacation was planned as a family vacation with our grown sons joining us. Yet, I also knew that I wanted to have a little spa type pampering. The week before we left I got the idea to take my personal Swiss Just arsenal of products with me and create at least once spa treatment per day. In reality I ended up being able to treat myself morning and night.
The resulting treatments were very inexpensive and because I didn't travel back and forth to a spa they didn't use up much of the time we had planned for family. Here are some of the treatments I did.

1. Every evening I used my diffuser with either 31 oil or Anti Stress Activator essential oils. The wonderful fragrance helped relax everyone after a busy day walking, sight seeing and hiking.

2. Every evening I gave myself a foot massage and hand massage using Swiss Just Pedicream and Chamomile Hand Cream. A couple evenings I even convinced DH to trade with me and we massaged each other's feet and hands.

3. Morning and Evening I used my Swiss Just Tea Tree Gel face wash and Tea Tree Facial Toner and then applied the Jojoba Oil/essential oil mix I make up myself.

4. One day when I awoke a little sore from extra hiking I massage my sore calves and ankles with Swiss Just Body Balm and followed up with Juniper cream.

5. The one evening when the weather changed and we suddenly had heavy rain I applied a dab of Thyme cream and a drop of 31 oil to my upper chest and then sprayed a puff of Eucasol as insurance against the headache I usually get with sudden weather changes.

6. I used and egg white one time and honey another and gave myself a mask twice during our week away.

7. I did a hot/cold contrast shower and followed it up with full body moisturizer.  (Next time I'll put together a small amount of salt glow and plan to use it.)

As you can see, I went at it full tilt. You certainly don't have to take it to the extreme I went to.

My point is that you can easily keep a few items on hand and create an inexpensive spa treatment or several treatments depending upon the time you have available. It's amazing how treating yourself to a few minutes of self care will equally instill a sense of tranquility and relaxation to a busy week or a day off.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ballet Body PS1: Weeks 5-7 Workout 1

My first thought after finishing the last workout of the recovery week was whether or not I'd actually continue with the periodization schedule once my vacation ended and I returned home. Imagine my surprise when I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I wanted to conquer or at least try the first workout for weeks 5-7.

Wow! Leah once again upped the anty. The workout was a nice mix of pushups, planking, Light hand weights for the upper body, pulsing yoga, thigh work and ab work.

I was most definitely challenged for the entire hour and 10-15 minutes. I also can feel some light to moderate muscle soreness the day after. (Nothing a little Swiss Just San Activ won't cure.)

Again, there was that strange mix of feeling stronger and yet more deeply challenged. At one point I remember feeling that I am now able to completely take my traps and neck out of the high rep, light weight upper body work. My shoulders are nicely sore today while my traps and neck are not.

At another point I noticed I was going more deeply into the plie movements and today my lateral quads are somewhat sore as are my medial quads and adductors.

Finally I noticed that I was not tensing my neck while performing the abs and was really actively holding my abdominals flat and tight while working them and guess what? Yep, that area is sore too. Actually my entire deep core including my back area is nicely toasted. Not sore as in, I hurt myself, but sore as in, I really completely worked this area.

This workout also had more balance work interspersed. I think that also added to my core soreness. I'm interested to see if the other two workouts for this next three weeks will be similar in nature.

The way this is unfolding is really motivating me to continue with the plan. One less than bright spot is the slowly but surely lengthening workout time demanded. This weeks workouts are all around an hour and 15 minute long. I know I've already stated that it's only three days a week but saying that and actually finding the time to accomplish that are two different things.

So I guess we shall see how that goes. Back when I was dancing I used to do an hour and a half ballet class daily. So having a ballet based workout run longer than a hour makes sense. It's just finding the time that's tough.

Coming back in to edit this before it ever posts. I just finished my second go through with this workout. It was still physically demanding and long but for some strange reason I enjoyed it this time around! Go Figure! I don't know if all the walking and hiking we had been doing while using my arms to control the length of the dogs' chains had left me tired when I did it the last time or if I could be a bit stronger. Whatever the reason, the workout didn't feel as repetitive or maybe I just didn't mind the repetition this time. Time will tell if I get the same toasty muscle awareness I got the last time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thought for the Weekend: Getting Physically Active

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." - Dale Carnegie

This quote reminds me of what it takes to establish a program of regular exercise. So many times people get stuck in contemplation and instead of moving their body they spend precious time contemplating what would be the very best, the perfect way to set about getting started with a program of regular exercise. They may spend a good deal of money buying a lot of exercise dvds, or equipment only to find reasons why they should wait to begin the actual exercise itself.

Others feel that they must follow the perfect schedule. They actually begin programs only to fall into inactivity when they are unable to continue the program as written for one reason or another.

If you see yourself in either of those descriptions my suggestion would be to simply commit to movement at least 6 days of the week for at least 15 minutes each day. Walking is a no brainer but so many other movements can also work. If you want to do a specific program or schedule go for it but don't become inactive if you find that the program doesn't fit your life just the way you thought it would. Remember your committment and keep up with at least 15 minutes of movement, 6 days a week. If you come across soma different fitness activity you want to try go for it but again knowing you'll keep your movement committment no matter what.

Stick with it for at least three months and be prepared to be amazed at the internal changes that will take place.

The wise message this quote gives us can also be taken in to many many other areas of life.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ballet Body: PS1 Week 4 Recovery Week

You perform the three workouts I have written about three days of the week alternating them with cardio and then on the 4th Week Leah has you take a recovery Week. This corresponded with our vacation that included a lot of hiking and walking daily so the timing was perfect!

Two of the BB days the Basics 1 downloads are scheduled with added stretching. I couldn't find a download called "stretching" so I did some stretching on my own on day 1. On day 2 a delicious practice called Stretching on the water was scheduled. It's only 15 minutes long but covers so much territory in that brief time. On day 3 I did the Basics 1 downloads and added Stretching on the water because I enjoyed it so much the first time I did it.

It was far from a typical week given all the hiking and walking we were doing but despite that I do feel as though my body did benefit from the recovery week. I used the downloads and they were easy to carry with me and access. I would say I really enjoyed my first month of Ballet Body.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bouncin' in the House by Blanche Black

 Bouncin' in the House is a rebounding DVD. Blanche leads you through a brisk 20 minute rebounding session followed by about 10 minutes of slow sustained stretching. When I say brisk I do mean brisk. The instrumental background music is between 140-145 beats per minute.

The workout is meant to be progressive. You are told to do only the first 3 minutes on week 1 then progress to 6 minutes during week 2 working up to the full 20 minutes by week 4. The first 3 minutes are brisk health bouncing. By that I mean that the feet do not leave the mat of the rebounder. The second three minutes add some alternating feet where the heels leave the rebounder but the toes do not. Interestingly enough this really tends to tighten up the calf muscles. Blanche remedies this in the stretch section with a nice long calf stretch that targets first the gastroc and then the soleus muscles - one leg and then the other.

Toward the end of the workout you perform several "jogging" intervals the first two of which are 3 minutes. Some people might find this boring. I didn't mind it but then I run so the repetition didn't bother me.

During the workout the arm movements are quite simple. Over all the simplicity and repetitive nature of the movements on this DVD were a nice contrast to the more dance-like Starbound DVD that I tend to pull out most often when I rebound. I got a good sweaty workout in short order.

The stretch section is basic but feels great after the workout. It's well cued and the stretches are held for a decent amount of time. I finished this workout feeling sweaty and energized yet also calm.

This DVD is a DVD-R. I've had mine for quite a while now with no problems with any changes in the quality of the play back.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ballet Body: PS1 Weeks 1-3 Workout 3

I'm writing this quick review having performed this workout once a week for the last three weeks.

This workout was longer than the previous two clocking in at about 1 hour 19 minutes. It also felt slightly more difficult than the previous workouts even with the extra time accounted for.

I didn't expect to actually follow this rotation but I admit to being intriqued. Leah is very big on alignment. Sometimes her alignment is very similar to T-Tapp and sometimes it's quite different but it is always well thought out. The sensation of feeling stronger in a workout while still being increasingly challenged from week to week is also something I've never felt other than with T-Tapp workouts and that  makes me want to continue with the shedule to see if it will continue.

Leah also talks alot about training your abs flat and taking your upper traps and back out of posterior delt work. I've heard many instructors speak of these concepts over the years. Where abs are concerned T-Tapp form forces them to train flat. Leah is the first person that I've ever seen actually teach you how to feel what she is talking about through the movements she teaches. You don't necessarily feel this at first but the more you do the workouts the more it seems to click. I'm very interested in how this increased proprioception will change my T-Tapp workouts. I honestly think that the change will be a good one.

At this point I'd have to say that Ballet Body is the most T-Tapp compatible workout I've ever experienced up to this point.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Form and Restructuring in a Chair: Lower Body

If possible do this exercise in front of a mirror so you can see slight deviations in your foot alignment as you perform the exercise. Sit at the front of your chair in the alignment described in the first post of this series.

Be sure that your knees are in front of your hip bones, your heels below your knees and your feet straight ahead. Place your hands on your hips.

1. Lift your right foot as if marching. Watch to see if your foot moves toward your other leg or away from  your other leg. If it does put your foot down and repeat the exercise lifting only as high as you can without that inward or outward foot stray occurring. Repeat on the other side. Work up to the point where you can march slowly in your chair without any foot stray occurring. Over time work to be able to raise your knee higher and higher without having any foot stray occur.

To further realign your lower body click on this link and practice the toe tapping exercise. The seated alignment is quite different than the alignment I've been using in this series but with good reason. It will help rebalance your lower body in its own way.